Why are so many young children given a powerful antipsychotic? Because the psychiatrist is paid handsomely to write out the prescription.
Psychiatrists in America who are paid upwards of $5,000 from manufacturers of atypical antipsychotics on average write three times as many prescriptions for the drugs as those who don't get such a good pay-off.
Between 2000 and 2005, antipsychotic use among American children increased nine-fold, while each psychiatrist received an average payment of $1,750 from a drug manufacturer during the same period.
The alarming practice of prescription pay-off has come to light only because just one state in the USA - Minnesota - requires full disclosure of industry payments to physicians.
As one psychiatrist put it: "There's an irony that psychiatrists ask patients to have insights into themselves, but we don't connect the wires in our own lives about how money is affecting our profession and putting our patients at risk."
(Source: New York Times, 10 May, 2007).
E-news broadcast 17 May 2007 No.360